Middle East

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Halal Middle East Holidays

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, has become one of the world's most popular tourism destinations, attracting over 11 million visitors every year, from all countries and backgrounds. Now the UAE is increasingly being seen as the ideal destination by Muslims, both from the Middle East and from elsewhere in the world, because of its combination of Islamic provenance and ultra-modern luxury provision. In 2015 the UAE overtook Turkey, affected by political instability, to move into second place after Malaysia in the Global Muslim Travel Index, and has retained this ranking in 2016.

Halal Hotels

There are many reasons for this accolade. As one of the wealthiest and most progressive countries in the Islamic world, the UAE has been one of the earliest pioneers in the growing halal tourism industry. Halal hotels have been springing up right across the seven emirates, serving both domestic and foreign tourists. Holiday resorts, luxury hotels and themed spas are increasingly operating in accordance with Islamic law.

This means that more and more hospitality companies and hotel chains are moving towards catering specifically for the Muslim market. Their hotels offer travellers an alcohol-free environment, and are free of bars, as well as nightclubs and casinos. The hotels provide prayer rooms, halal restaurants, and gender-segregated pools, spas and fitness facilities.

Safe Streets

An important aspect of the UAE's increasing popularity as a destination for Muslims is the prevailing Islamic culture throughout the Emirates, contributing to the feeling of safety and security which is so important for Muslim families. Tourists can usually move about freely on the streets, in confidence that they are unlikely to be attacked or robbed, or fall victim to pickpockets. Unlike the situation in many holiday areas around the world, you won't encounter hordes of drunk people pouring out of bars, engaging in rowdy and promiscuous behaviour on the streets.

Family Friendly

One of the top criteria for a high ranking in the Global Muslim Travel Index is the country's suitability for family holidays. This is where the UAE scores particularly well, as UAE people love children and always go out of their way to ensure they are given the warmest of welcomes. Family holidays in the UAE offer an impressive array of family-focused attractions, as well as fantastic shopping and dining.

The big benefit for family holidays in the UAE is the contrasting landscapes of the rolling desert sands and the beautiful coastlines of the Persian Gulf. The desert provides fantastic adventure activities for all the family, including desert safaris, hot-air balloon trips, camel racing and dune buggy rides. On the coast, as well as stunning coral reefs, there are opportunities for jogging, cycling and swimming, plus enjoying amazing family entertainments, water-sports and theme parks, in places like Yas Island and Jumeirah Beach Park.

Relaxed Dining

Of course food and dining are an important part of any holiday, and there is no problem for Muslim families, with so many halal restaurants available. Even McDonald's in UAE is scrupulous about following Islamic principles and UAE laws, and their meat patties are produced from 100% pure halal beef, with no preservatives or additions. Another favourite family-friendly brand is the More restaurant chain, with outlets in the majority of malls -- you can even get a halal full English breakfast here, and their wonderful food, gorgeous breads and laid-back atmosphere make for a great family eating experience.

The UAE, with its beautiful climate and relaxed pace of life, is becoming the Middle East's number 1 tourist destination, for travellers from all walks of life. The travel industry here is increasingly aware of the burgeoning Islamic tourist market, and is catering to the needs of this group across all segments of the tourist trade. Whether seeking five-star luxury or family-friendly relaxation, Muslim travellers can visit the UAE with the utmost confidence.